Sarah Carless Reports..

France dominate first leg of Event Rider Masters 

France dominated the podium placings in the first leg Event Riders Masters (ERM) at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials.

Forty riders, from nine nations were competing for a prize fund of £50,000 as well as an opportunity to catch the team selector’s eye ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

Astier Nicholas riding Piaf De Bneville landed the £16,000 first prize and was joined on the podium by French riders Thibaut Vallette and Karim Laghouag. And in fifth place was Mathieu Lemoine riding Bart L, and also a shareholder in Astier’s winning horse.


Following the dressage and show jumping, Great Britain’s Kitty King[emember_protected custom_msg=’This content is only available to Members, to read more of this article please Join HERE or if you are a member please LOGIN‘]
held a commanding lead, but an incident in the start box of the cross-country cost her expensive time faults moving her down the final order.

After a faultless show jumping Astier started out on cross-country in second and wasting no time with Piad De Bneville the pair secured the lead after crossing the finish line with just 6.8 time penalties. Astier explained; “It’s amazing to win the first leg of ERM and I am delighted for my horse Piaf De Bneville. His show jumping and cross-country was spot on today. It’s hard to make the time here at Chatsworth so I expected that the winner would need to post a quick cross-country and the final leader board could change dramatically.

“This new competition format means you ride it more like a three day event rather than one day and the crowds getting behind the riders has created a really big atmosphere across all three phases. The big aim for this horse is the Olympics this summer and this weekend’s competition has been an excellent preparation for that”.

The ERM produced a thrilling competition with dramatic surges up the leader board as the cross-country time proving hugely influential. Australia’s Chris Burton climbed from twenty second after show jumping, to finish in sixth place. He was the only ERM competitor to finish inside the optimum time.

Alice Fox-Pitt, a Director of ERM commented; “What an incredible weekend of sport. The riders have delivered, the horses raised their game and the engagement with ERM across all platforms has been astounding. We can’t believe how strong the French challenge was, they certainly have sent out a warning shot to other nations ahead of Rio. What a venue Chatsworth is to showcase elite athletes at their best. Roll on leg 2 of ERM at Bramham.”

Alongside the ERM class, Chatsworth hosted two other CIC*** classes. The first of these was won by
Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy on Huw Lloyd and Christopher and Sarita Perkin’s Mr Chunky – their first win at this level together. French also dominated the second CIC*** class with Arnaud Boiteau taking victory on Quoriano and Thibault Fournier taking second with Siniani De Lathus.

Padraig McCarthy and Mr Chunky
Padraig McCarthy and Mr Chunky

It was a win for Sweden’s Ludvig Svennerstal in the CIC* on Silver Skymaster whilst other CIC* winners included Katherine Cross (Section F, Romeo Z), David Doel (Section G, Cracker Jack II) AND Lizzie Baugh (Section H, Quarry Man).

Andrew Nicholson continued his good form this season with a win in the Advanced class, taking victory with Teseo, whilst Katie Richards (Section I, Ridgebarn Ruff) and Emilie Chandler (Section J, Poppys Law) were the winners in the weekend’s Novice classes.

Photographs courtesy of Lorraine Porter

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